Stranger Things Creators Sued Over Alleged Plagiarism

Stranger Things Creators Sued Over Alleged Plagiarism
Image: Netflix

The creators of the Netflix sci-fi spooky series Stranger Things, Ross and Matt Duffer, have been hit by a new lawsuit. The allegation: that the Duffer brothers took the idea for the series from a short film called Montauk.

Charlie Kessler released Montauk back in 2012, with the film – which is viewable on Vimeo, but not to Australians at the time of writing – focusing on secret government tests.

According to TMZ, which obtained documents relating to the lawsuit, Kessler argues that he pitched an idea for a series based on his short film to the Duffer brothers in 2014.

Netflix would later purchase the rights to Stranger Things off the Duffer brothers in 2015. The film was originally supposed to be set in Montauk, New York, which formed the backdrop for Amity Island in JAWS, although the setting was later changed to the fake town of Hawkins, Indiana.

Kessler’s proposed series was called The Montauk Project, a conspiracy theory about alleged government tests and projects around time travel and psychological warfare. Stranger Things was also inspired by the same conspiracy, with Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery confirming in a WIRED interview that is was based on Camp Hero, a government lab in Montauk:

Netflix has yet to issue a comment following multiple reports. Two conditions of Kessler’s lawsuit is that all materials allegedly plagiarised from his concept are to be destroyed, along with compensation. We’ll keep you posted as we know more.


  • Interestingly that picture looks like one of the Chimera from Playstation’s Resistance: Fall of Man…

  • If they’re found guilty then they’d be a pair of silly duffers wouldn’t they? I’ll see myself out.

    I’ve only seen the first season but in all honesty Stranger Things borrowed from a lot of things and sometimes it was hard to tell if it was homage or rehash.

  • Wait, all materials allegedly plagiarised are to be destroyed? Does that mean that Netflix has to get rid of the first season of Stranger things or just the original scripts and storyboards. Seems kinda fucked up to take away a show that is loved by many

  • i really expected to love this show with all its retro 80’s homage but found it lackluster and overated in the end.

  • Come on, I’d love to see the evidence, but this won’t stand up. Oh, a story based on secret government testing, never been done before right? Ha! There are even multiple short films etc on Montauk itself and what happened there, which btw Stranger Things is not set in or has anything to do with besides being inspired by, oh and also stars children set in the 80’s with an inter-dimensional monster. It’s just too vague, there are probably two dozen anime with the same storyline let alone any other media, this hack is dreaming and just looking for some cash, inspired by is not stealing, and he can’t even prove inspiration.

  • He won’t win, he’ll either get an undisclosed settlement or it’ll get thrown out…
    Stranger Things seems to be inspired by a number of influences.
    Like previous posters have said, this isn’t the first thing to use that similar idea.

  • This guy sounds like one of those patent trolls that makes an app just so they can sue anyone who makes a slightly similar app

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